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Full text of "Verdict On India"

170                                       VERDICT  OX  INDIA
endeavour to reconcile the conflicting claims of loyalty to the
Mahatma and the integrity of his own vision of the modern world.
Spinning wheels and non-violence on the one sidev with, of course*
the sacred cow in the background...("I bow to no one/ said
Gandhi. ciu my worship of the cow').. .all the spells of medieval-
ism, in a mad hotchpotch, wrapped up in a parcel labelled "take
it or leave it/ And on the other side, a shrinking world, moving
with ever greater velocity, a world of thrilling social experiment,
streamlined and sceptical. How could a man like Xehru fail to
be torn, as so many of his colleagues were torn ? Only by a series
of uncomfortable compromises and over-ingenious sophistries
could they dodge the awkward fact that the Gandhi cap is a very
bad fit indeed for a man with a modern brain.
So it has been, on a wide scale, with the youth of India. Every
day that Gandhi has been in gaol has seen a rapid increase in the
iitiinber of young Indians who either voluntarily or involuntarily
arc being brought into the orbit of the war effort, which means
into the orbit of the twentieth century. From thousands of
villages young men are flocking to the army centres where, for
the first time in their lives, they are taught the rudiments of
hygiene and discipline, and are given their first sight of the magic
of modern, machinery. This latter point is of very great importance.
One of the most brilliant pieces of organization which Britain has
achieved during the present war is the gigantic War Exhibition
which has been moved from centre to centre, during the past
eighteen months, in an effort to teach India the issues of the war
and the manner in which it is being waged. The Exhibition is not
merely a collection of tanks and propaganda posters ; it is a com-
plete and self-sufficient picture, 011 an enormous scale, of modern
engineering, aviation, transport, agriculture, radio, cookery, social
service, botany, medicine, etc., etc.
In spite of the frenzied efforts of Congress to boycott it, the
Exhibition has been an unqualified success, particularly with the
younger men. It has marked a turning point in their lives. They
have come from sleepy villages which, if Gandhi had his way,
would go on sleeping, and suddenly the whole wonder box
modern science is thrown open before them. They stare in amaze-
ment and growing delight and soon they are lost, irrevocably